Friday, December 6, 2013

Weight Loss: It's Not a Race

I like data.  I like anything I can measure in numbers.  I like graphs and charts and statistics and percentages.  That's why I've been measuring everything about myself as I've been losing weight.

At the end of every month, I weigh myself, and measure my belly, arms, legs, neck, you name it.

It's fun when those measurements have drastic changes.  I had one month where I lost 2 inches off my belly.  I had one month where I lost 10 pounds.  I had one month where my body fat percentage dropped 3.8 points.

Then I have also had months like November.  My weight loss in the month of November was 0.4 pounds.

Did it have something to do with this?
Ya, probably.
Or this?
Most definitely.
While I did do lots of exercise over the month of November, I also allowed myself to splurge much more than normal.

The result was that I basically didn't lose any weight in November.

On the last day of every month, I look forward to seeing my numbers, and looking over my (geeky) little spread sheet.  But when I saw that particular number I was discouraged.

Robyn, in an attempt to cheer me up said, "At least you didn't gain any weight over Thanksgiving."  She's of course, correct.  Many people gain weight over the holidays.  So far, I've just managed to maintain over the holidays.

But then I got to thinking about it more.  There's a show I watch called extreme weight loss.  In it, Chris Powell helps morbidly obese people transform their lives over the course of one year.  Many of them lose 200+ pounds in a year.  There was one particular episode that inspired me.  This particular individual had a severe food addiction.  He could not bring himself to follow the meal plan.  He worked out really hard, but he also wouldn't stop going out for fast food.

The goal Chris had set for him was to lose something like 75 pounds in 3 months.  At the end of the 3 month period, he had lost about 30 pounds.  Chris was furious.  He was so disappointed that this guy had not lived up to his full potential.

But when I watched that I saw something completely different.  I didn't see failure.  I saw someone who could succeed without being perfect.  That unintentional message may have changed my life forever.

I may have lost very little weight in November, but let me tell you about a few other numbers.

In November my biceps increased by 1/4 inch.  (For a while they were decreasing because I had so much fat on my arms.  The fat has finally moved out of the way so that muscle can increase it.)

In November, I worked up to the point where I do 80 pushups every morning.

In November, I set a new record of being able to climb 2700 feet in under 2 hours.

In November, the highest I ever saw my blood sugar was 123.

Looking at those numbers I realized that perhaps weight was never the best measure in the first place.  But, more importantly, I realized that it's okay to indulge on occasion.  It's okay to not be perfect.  And it's okay if sometimes progress is slower than others.

As with many things, it's not a race.  It doesn't matter how fast you get there.  It matters what direction you're going.


  1. It's a good thing it isn't a race, because if it was you would be dominating me. I haven't lost any weight this year at all. And I also don't even know my blood sugar. Congrats on doing so many pushups, that's hardcore.

  2. Maintaining weight during the holidays is a huge accomplishment. Thanks for continuing to share your weight loss journey. I love your reminder that we don't have to be perfect, just moving in the right direction. I'm not working on losing weight right now, but I did need to hear that! Good luck with your goals in December!

  3. I'm so proud of you for finding your healthy without feeling like you have to be perfect. Awesome!

  4. Thanks for keeping me going in the right direction. You are my main motivation to just keep moving! I love that we get to do this together. Slow and steady (and occasionally stagnant) win the race.


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